p 150 Years
Young Travelers on the Path of Knowledge
by Billy Howard '73
and Laurie Shock
Designer: Laurie Shock
Editor: Julie Auton
Proofreader: Amy Bauman
Printed in China
Text'? 2012 Billy Howard and Laurie Shock
All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the
publisher, excepting brief excerpts for use in publicity and reviews.
Photography £ 2012 Billy Howard, www.BillyHoward.com
Very special thanks go to Chris Watters for the use of his beautiful photographs appearing on
pgs. 69- -71; ' Chris Watters.
ADDITIONAL IMAGE CREDITS: Unless noted below, images are from Ravenscroft
archives. Ashe County Historical Society: pgs. xii. 10; ©Rebekah Carson: author
1 of Billy Howard; Christ Church archives: pgs. xii, 8. 12, 14. 17; Library
of Congress: pgs. 12-13; North Carolina State Archives: pgs. xii, 4-5
(photograph by Stu Schwartz); Rev Gilbert White. The Natural
History ofSelbourne, 1879: pg. 2. endshcets; Saint Mary's School
archives: Painting by |acob Eichholtz in 1830. pg. 7.
Published and produced by
Shock Design Books
454 Hamilton Street SE, #12
Atlanta. GA 30316
Final note: The portrait of Dr. losiah Ogden
Watson on page 3 was recreated from a
poor quality photograph or an oil
painting. It was rendered to the
best likeness of him, based
on all the evidence
we have at this
A country's independence
A journey reaching across centuries
Embarking on a journey
The words assembled to create this book were crafted from the shared wisdom of many. Teachers, alum-
ni, students, administrators, donors, and staff shared their experiences with us and we have tried to honor
their deep love for Ravenscroft with an accurate reflection of the past, present, and future of the School.
We sincerely thank the following for taking the time to sit with us, answer our calls, respond to
our emails and enthusiastically share their experiences at Ravenscroft: Patrick Bailey 'n. Vic Bell
III '74. Becky Bradley, Denise Colpitts, Ned Gonet, Herbert L. Gupton '53, Payton Hobbs, Doreen
Kelly, Zaki Haidary '11, Phil Higginson, David Lindquist, Tal Mangum '77 David McChesney Bruce
Miller, Margaret Mills '76, Mary Moss, Bill Pruden, Fran Pugh, Alfred L. Purrington 1 1 1 '46, Colleen
Ramsden, Barbara Jean Warren, and Bob Winston III '80.
Chris Watters generously donated his sports photography The archive he has amassed for the
School is a treasure, and his commitment to visually documenting life, particularly sports and fine arts,
at Ravenscroft leaves a historical legaq' few schools can match.
The story of Ravenscroft starts in Christ Church, and we thank Kay Culp for allowing us access
to their archives, and Lee Weaver, who not only maintains the buildings but maintains the church his-
tory as well.
Davyd Foard Hood's history of Christ Church, To the Glory of God: Christ Church, 1821-1996 is
an archival treasure trove and was invaluable in our research of the School's beginnings.
Sharon Hayes at St. Saviour's guided us through the old Tucker Street buildings and brought
that era alive.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Susan Ehtesham-Zadeh. author of Ravenscroft School: Story of a
Southern School Her work allowed us a full understanding of the history of Ravenscroft and stands as the
essential biography of the School. It is required reading for a complete understanding of the people and
events that formed Ravenscroft.
We were guided on our journey by Susan Washburn, who tirelessly researched our questions,
scheduled interviews, tweaked our words and challenged our assumptions. Her leadership, along with
guidance from Penny Rogers '93, was the engine behind our effort and we are thankful to have such
And finalh, to truly honor all those who have made contributions to Ravenscroft would have
filled this book with a list of both Raleigh's greatest names and humblest benefactors. We chose instead
to try to capture the heart and soul of Ravenscroft and hope those reading and viewing will take owner-
ship of their contributions and proudly hold this book as a tribute to the legacy of their philanthropy,
both of hearts and resources.
Ravenscroft is more than a physical campus of buildings. It lives as an ideal in those of us who
have been there, as students, educators, staff, and supporters. It is the embodiment of our hope and
faith that education can build a stronger and more ethical world. And that is an impressive legacy for a
humble parish school started 150 years ago by one man's dream and another's passion. We think they
The Teachers of Ravenscroft
Throughout our research we discovered how Ravenscroft has touched Raleigh, the region, the
country, and the world through students who entered with the ripe capacity to grow and left with a
true love of learning and an inspired spirit instilled in the classroom. We found that this fertile and
nurturing environment has been due to one consistent and precious resource— teachers.
They are called to a profession where they dedicate decades inside simple rooms adorned
in crepe paper and imagination while fueling eager minds with a renewable source of energy-
First and foremost this book is dedicated to them. Each of us has a place in our hearts and
a special memory for a teacher that set us right, inspired us, and sped us on a course to discover our
dreams and passions and compelled us to do our small part in making the world a better place.
To name them all would be a book of its own. So we ask that you take a brief moment and
think of a face that smiled at you as you first entered an unfamiliar room in a school only to realize
dreams larger than the world you knew.
From a single thought came an action. The thought was that it would be good to educate
Raleigh's children in a parish environment; the action was a bequest to start that school.
What followed were the thoughts and actions of many who understood and valued the vision.
As we celebrate that good thought and the bequest, made more than 150 years ago. we
realize how many lives have been enriched by the school that would begin at Christ Church and
grow to be known as Ravenscroft.
As a 1974 Ravenscroft alumnus and now a father of a Ravenscroft student, I cherish
Ravenscroft as part of my family's history In the 1960s, I recall hearing the plans being made
for the School's move to Falls of Neuse, as the Holdings, the Pughs and many others, strived to
assure that Ravenscroft would thrive and flourish far into the future.
And now, 1 have had the privilege to serve my school as a trustee and stand beside Head
of School Doreen Kelly and congratulate the many young faces, bright with their futures, as they
receive their diplomas. These young people, many of whom I have known since they started
Kindergarten at Ravenscroft. have their confidence instilled through a stellar education and are
prepared not only to meet their individual potential but also to shape the future— theirs and
ours. I am filled with optimism for them and the generations of graduates who will follow them.
Today's Ravenscroft is a school grateful for the vision of its founders and the many
dedicated families who have perpetuated and strengthened that vision.
Please join me in embracing Ravenscroft 's sesquicentennial year by enjoying this
anniversary book and honoring all those people — past , present, and future, who have a passion-
ate belief in the education of young minds
lU T^ fesflfc
Chairman of the Board
The first teacher at
"he Tucker Street school
location, Annie Tongue.
after twenty-five years
Late in the yean Fran and Dr. V. Watson
Pugh '38 identify I I 5 a
farm for building a new campus, the board pur-
chases the land on Falls of Neuse Road, and the
following January, Ravenscroft is rechartered a
an independent school without church affiliation.
The Bold Initiatives Capital Campaign
(1998-2001) begins, and Rove
School: Story of a Southern School, the
first history book on Ravenscroft is
written by Susan Ehtesham-Zadeh
based on 400 pages of painstaking
research by E. E/'Jack" Carter and
his wife. Muriel.
Ned Fox becomes
interim head of
Doreen C. Kelly becomes
head of school at Ravenscroft,
and the Charge to Victory
Capital Campaign (2003-
Dedication of young people
theatre, a new strategic
plan is accepted, and a
In April the A, E. Finley Activity
Center is dedicated, both the
boys' and girls' t
the first of back-to-back s
championships, and A.J. Fletcher
establishes a fine arts program
with a grant of $ 1 0,000 from the
", . . education implies not
only thorough instruction
to fit the student for
the pursuits of later life,
but the rudiments, the
foundation of knowledge.
It is here that the impedi-
ments are removed, the
bridges erected . . .
— Rev, Dr. Richard S. Mason,
Rector. Christ Church 1 836
Opposite: Dr.Josiah Ogden Watson,
whose $5,000 bequest became
the birth of Ravenscroft.
TRUE VISION WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME.
C )ne hundred and htry years ago, a spark was ignited by Dr. Josiah Ogden Watson's
\ ision to found a parish school at Christ Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Watson left a
$5,000 bequest to start a school at the church led by Rev. Dr. Richard Sharpe Mason, w ho
also had a vision for the teaching of young minds and a passionate belief in education.
Mason wrote: "It is not good for the soul to be without knowledge Who can tell
how soon may begin that intellectual disease which is never to be cured . who can tell how
soon the mind ma)' commence its divergence from the path of truth."
Education, in Mason's mind, implied building a foundation of knowledge, remov-
ing impediments, building bridges, and setting a direction for "the young traveler m the
paths of knowledge." He built a school to guide students "a short distance on the road he is
afterwards by himself to pursue."
Ravenscroft, at its very core, has held that path sacred and guided thousands of
young people to lives fulfilled by a love of learning and giving. Ravenscroft continues
guiding young minds down the path of truth Drs Mason and Watson envisioned. We
reflect on the past, while celebrating the present, and dream ot all that Ravenscroft can be
in the future. We arc well down a path that renews itself each time a new student begins
his or her journey.
The vision of two friends, a spiritual and educational leader and a compassion-
ate doctor and philanthropist, thrives ISO years later. It was a true vision. A school, like
the young traveler, continues on the path of knowledge, sending young leaders back into
the world with a spark ignited and kept alive by teachers, administrators, families, and the
community that is Ravenscroft.
A photograph of the original Isaac
Hunter's Tavern before it was torn
down. A historic marker credits
the tavern as being the location
where North Carolina state
legislators planned the birth of
brings more than the joy and elation of precious freedom. It also reveals the financial realities ol
war. the sacrifice of lives lost, and the challenge and excitement to continue building a country with
the values and intentions o! those who led the way
Thirteen years after the start ol America's first great war. upon the heels of a financial
depression that shook the South, a vision of firsts is born At the [788 Convention in I lillsborough.
delegates decree that a new county seat and state capital be built within ten miles of Isaac I lunter s
Tavern, a favorite spot of legislators. North Carolina commissioners gather around one of the tavern's
tables and plan the birth and rise of a great city that will become the new count)' seat and state
capital Raleigh. A large town square with city blocks lined with oak and hickory trees springs to
life on paper by the hand of William Christmas in 1792. Within two years, the construction of a
two-story brick statehouse is completed, and in six more years, the population rises to 669.
As North Carolina leaders envision the rise of a new state capital, sixteen-year-
old ]ohn Stark Ravenscroft departs by boat from Great Britain to return to his birth home
)f Virginia. Raised in Scotland, |olm loses his father when he is nine years old, after which
his mother, Lillias, cares for her only child alone An intelligent, determined woman.
Lillias sees to it that her son enjoys every educational advantage available. Little does she
know that the educational values she instills in him are the beginning thread that will
weave a path into the twenty-first century
This is the story of paths, of common threads, of greatness that comes from a
passion connected b\ hearts and hands across generations and time. A connection
that culminates in a school that is more familial than institutional, with an organic
spirit and energy that grow exponentially through the lives of everyone it touches and the
cirv that rises with it.
Following the .American Revolution, the Church of England begins disappearing from the newh
free nation as Anglican clergy loyal to the King close their churches in great numbers In [789,
the Episcopal Church permanently separates from the Church of England, and in [817 the same
year Ravenscroft is ordained deacon, the Episcopal Church accepts the Diocese of North Carolina
"» I ft
^' / X-^- , f/ . "f""^"; ■■■■- . .
Site of the future Christ
Church and the parish
school that v
to be Ravenscroft.
Top: Plans for the city of Raleigh
drawn by William Christmas in
I 792. Left Construction on a
two-story brick state capitol
was completed in I 794.
Opposite: John Stork Ravenscrofi,
upon saving his father's estate from
ruin in / 789, enrolled at William
and Mary College to study law. He
married and adopted five children
before applying for Holy Orders
within the Episcopal Church.
into its fold to be overseen by Bishop Richard Channing Moore of the Virginia Diocese. But an
unwavering vision is growing through the southeast to erect an Episcopal Church in the newly
born capital In August of [821, while gathered together in a home filled with dreams of a new
church, a group of like-minded Christian friends elect a vestry and officially commit to form the
Congregation of Christ Church.
By 1823, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina is still without a resident bishop, and
Christ Church, while growing strong in membership, remains without a physical building in which
to worship. But on May 23, at the general convention at Philadelphia, Ravenscroft is officially-
consecrated as the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. In addition to his role
as bishop. Ravenscroft also agrees to a dual role as the first rector of Christ Church in Raleigh.
Known as "Mad lack" during his college years, his commanding presence and strong convictions
set a powerful precedent for the direction of the Episcopal Church in North Carolina. As he said
to a fellow clergyman:
Brother Green, I have one advantage over you; while you were brought up in
the fear of God and in ignorance of the great wickedness that is going on in
the world, I know all about the ways of sinners, and can therefore track the
scoundrels into all their dens and hiding places and strip them of their self-
conceits and refuges of lies.
With Bishop Ravenscroft's leadership now in place, providence envelopes Christ Church
with a bequest of perhaps as much as $16,000 by a parishioner from Trinity Episcopal Church,
eighty miles east of Raleigh in Tarboro. Mary " Jackey" Sumner Blount, a widow of Major General
Thomas Blount, had signed a will one year earlier for S16.OOO to be placed in a trust to build an
Episcopal Church in the city of Raleigh, the first gift of its kind given to any Episcopal Church in
North Carolina Upon news of the bequest, Christ Church Vestry begins raising additional funds
to build a church on the northeast corner of Union Square across from the Capitol building. In
i82Q. the small wooden church opens its doors to grateful parishioners who previously had been
renting space for services. While Bishop Ravenscroft resigned his position as rector one year
earlier, he is blessedly present for the consecration of Christ Church's first building. Sadly, it is to
be his last service performed as bishop before his death in March of 1830, following a prolonged
illness. Lovingly laid to rest beneath the chancel of Christ Church, his influence and legacy are not
to be fully realized for at least another century
Rev, Dr. Richard Sharpe Mason
became rector of Christ Church in
1840. His empassioned belief in
education for children compelled
him to honor Dr.Josiah Ogden
Watson's dream to found a
parochial school. Opposite: A
detail of Dr. Watson's will and
his $5,000 bequest to hire a
teacher for a school at
In [840, the third rector of Christ Church, Rev Dr, George Washington Freeman, resigns
Ins position and is succeeded by Rev. Dr Richard sharpe Mason Rev Mason's close personal
fnend Dr fosiah Ogden Watson, is confirmed in Christ Church and becomes an active and
philanthropic parishioner The two have much in common, significant!)', their shared vision of
the importance of education in the lives of children. In the early- to mid nineteenth century
it was quite common to have ministers interested and even engaged in the education of their
community's youth Ministers were leaders of their community and many times the most-educated
people, so it was onl\ natural that they were often involved in educational endeavors.
Ardent passion is not enough to describe the level of devotion both Rev. Mason and Dr
Watson felt in bringing quality education to the young children of Raleigh What Dr Watson
cannot accomplish in his lifetime however, he is determined to achieve upon his death On June
12, I.XS2. Dr. Watson dies at his Raleigh estate, Sharon, and in his will bequeaths $5,000 to be
invested to start a school at Christ Church. Rev Mason, who had been president of both Geneva
College (now Hobart College) and Newark College, does not require additional persuading to
realize Dr. Watson's dream.
"It is not good for the soul to be without knowledge." Rev, Mason says, merging
faith and philosophy into his belief that education was necessary to keep on
"the path of truth " I [onoring his friend's wishes was fulfilling his own
In Jeily [883, Raleigh's newspaper, The News and Observer, reports
that the School had been founded and was operating until the Civil
War began in  I low ever, early church records are sporadic and
incomplete, so there is nothing in the Christ Church archives to describe
the earh- educational instruction if it did occur Prior
to the Civil War, the South had not built a strong
educational infrastructure. When the war ended
in [865, the South was devastated physically and
financially with an epidemic of closed schools
and businesses. Understandably, if the School
had begun before the war, it would have been
nearly impossible to continue
I listorv is filled with tangents, points
where a path diverts due to the capricious
foibles of humanity- a misplaced numeral.
-^2^t t-^e ^^-*~u
S^<fs-*^ far**, £&**- 6o>cZe <3g__
/Ls<-*--*^C+--ry^> (&~M~e-*-f o— «^-c-^_ £<^— >~?—e>— *—&*-
Above: Mrs. Jennie Henry, third from
the left, was hired as the first teacher
and principal for Christ Church School
when it opened its doors in 1 868,
Here she is seen to the right of her
son-in-law, J. 0. Wilcox, who married
her daughter, Margaret, standing
to the left of MrWilcox.lhey are
flanked by the Wilcox children and
baby Margaret in the arms of an
unidentified woman standing to the
right of Mrs, Henry
i\ £V ;
3m SM.;«.' *««"*'
„ little girl whose name » *£>
Morris. Her father w« »-W . Ub fenuly -"
, md therefore ** -£•£ ^ hc „. „otb indolent
ind ependoneo and co,„fo,t, bn , ^^ w<jm
an o profligate. His w* > ■ 1 r BOto ble nppear-
„,,„ m ade every effor t. P «- ^ ^ fc ^ dutJ to
a „„e among her »««^ ra ' ^ , to vast respon-
her sensitive heart. »--- ^ fronl tUe filing
feeble hand for bread as , • dil . ln g mother
^ndsof winter. Many ■ f* „ m „„ e , of food,
gon e to her - rfcV ^ ^^a „f the pain of hnnger
Mary "as the eiue.
and future events are impacted in unexpected ways. In one such moment, the will belonging to Dr.
Watson had originally been entered into Johnston County Court since most of his properties were
there when he died. Ten years later, when the will was then entered into the Wake County court
records, human error caused the probate date to be recorded as 1862 rather than 1852. The minor
detail, a clerical error in Dr. Watson's will, creates the moment we celebrate as our founding as the
plans for the School officially take form.
Rev. Richard Mason makes good on his vow to honor Dr. Watson's dream and Christ
Church School opens its doors for the first time. With recently widowed Mrs. Jennie Henry as the
school's first teacher, somewhere between sixty and seventy students are welcomed into the parish
school, a small wooden building on the north side of the church facing the capital on Union Square,
ringed by lovely maturing oaks and elms.
Almost ten years earlier. Rev. Mason's wife, Mary Ann Bryan Mason, published the first
illustrated children's book by a woman author in North Carolina. Entitled A Wreath from the Woods of
Carolina, it is a collection of eleven stories that teach the importance of truth, honesty, and other moral
lessons. It is possible that students were taught from that book in some of the early classes at Christ
Church School. Although there is no record of it, at the very least, it reveals the level of devotion both
to education and to children that abounded within the hearts of those at Christ Church.
The Panic of 1873 arrives in autumn, and unemployment rises to 14 percent
over the next five years. The following year, school enrollment drops to
50 students. While classes are free at Christ Church School, the financial
crisis impacts families in more ways than one can imagine and causes
admission to fall. Enrollment drops to a low of 28 students until the
economic recovery takes hold, and then a staggering 125 students are
enrolled for the 1885 school year. Church records tell a story of Mrs.
Henry not only running the School but also attending baptisms and
other important family events in the lives of her students and their
families. It is apparent there is concern and care for each student
that goes beyond the daily lessons in class. All seems to progress
smoothly until talk begins of transforming the School into an
"industrial" facility and moving it to a new location.
Left Rev. Mason's wife, Mary Ann
Bryan Mason, published a book
of moral lessons for children, A
Wreath from the Woods of
Carolina in 1 859. Written from the
heart and desire of one devoted to
children's education, it was the first
illustrated book for children in North
Carolina by a woman author.
■'■ ••■-'■ ''■'' '
The first students to benefit from
Dr Watson's bequest met in this
modest wood building on the north
side of Christ Church. Originally
facing the capitol building, several
years later it was enlarged and
turned to face Edenton Street. This
area 1910 photograph is the only
known image of the first school. It
overlays an illustration of downtown
Raleigh m 1872.
Above: The original St. Saviour's Mission
Chapel that opened its doors on Sep-
tember 9, / 894. Opposite: St. Saviours
Chapel officially becomes St. Saviour's
Church, and a beautiful stone Gothic-
Revival Chapel is completed in 1 927,
Soon after the mention of possibly moving the School, enrollment drops to thirty-two students,
and in [891, Mrs. Henry resigns her position and moves to Ashe County in Western North
Carolina. The church decides to delay hiring a new teacher to focus on a new mission chapel
they plan to build on the west side of town. The School experiences a three-year dormancy,
marking the end of its first incarnation.
Despite another economic crisis in 1893 that launches a four-year depression, Christ
Church manages to open its new mission chapel, St. Saviour's, on September 9,
1894, on Johnson and West Streets in Raleigh. The School reopens the
very next day within the welcoming walls of St. Saviour's, and in
one year, fifty-two students are enrolled with two teachers on staff.
As Raleigh's population increases to 19.218 in 1910,
school enrollment over the years seesaws significantly. By 1912,
only eighteen students are enrolled, and Christ Church is in debt
to the Watson school fund by S4.615.91. A year later, a legal claim
is made against the church for unpaid interest, and the following
year. World War I begins in Europe.
By the time the war ends in 1918. St. Saviour's
Chapel has officially become St. Saviour's Church, and there is
no record of the parish school having been in operation since
1912. Raleigh's population continues to flourish, as does the
congregation at St. Saviour's. Christ Church Vestry decides to
purchase a city block bordering Tucker and Johnson Streets,
where they plan to construct a stone chapel, parish house, and
rectory with generous donations by several parishioners.
The largest contribution comes from lifelong church
member, Ernest Haywood, whose brother Edgar had died in
1924, leaving him a substantial inheritance. Ernest contributes
$40,000 to be used to build the new chapel, asking that it be
known as The Edgar Haywood Memorial Chapel. The current Rector, Rev Boston McGee
Lackey, is overwhelmed with gratitude and, in a letter, expresses his conviction that the generous
gift stand as a memorial to both brothers, noting their benevolent and noble hearts. On August
<-), [927, the cornerstone is laid as the beautiful Gothic Revival stone chapel rises proudly on
Tucker Street along with an education wing and a new stone veneer rectory.
Years pass as the church congregation continues to grow
and the Great Depression devastates the country from coast to
coast. With the climate of the deteriorating economy, Christ
Church struggles to meet its operating expenses, and in order to
remain open, must resort to using money that had been slated for
special projects. Christ Church Rector Rev. Dr. Milton Barber is
successful in seeing the church through this difficult time in history,
but the stress takes its toll and on March 27 1935, he suffers a seri-
ous stroke that forces him to resign six months later. His contribu-
tion and service to the church are enormous, and he becomes the
second rector emeritus in the history of Christ Church.
A search for a replacement rector leads the vestry to three
Episcopal clergymen who all decline the inquiry. It takes a second
call to Rev. John Armstrong Wright in Augusta, Georgia, to per-
suade him to lead as rector at Christ Church. It was Rev. Wright,
who shortly upon assuming his new position in October 1936,
rediscovers Dr. Watson's original school fund earning interest.
This discovery compels Rev. Wright to approach the vestry with a
proposal to reopen the parish school. A committee is formed, and
in June, the committee members propose that the school include
Kindergarten through fourth grade to begin the coming fall with
an approved expense of S500 to go toward school equipment
On June 21, 1937 it is decided that the School be officially named
Ravenscroft after Bishop Ravenscroft. One hundred and fifty-six
years after Ravenscroft 's mother devoted herself to ensuring the
best educational opportunities for her son, a school is now named
in his honor to continue that legacy.
Ultimately, it isn't financial resources, nor the planed
wood planks, nor the bricks and mortar that make a school, but
the selfless educators and their gift for reaching young souls and
giving birth to a passion for learning. Teachers, who nurture.
Above: Rev. John Armstrong Wnght
discovers Dr. Watson's original school
fund earning interest and proposes
to reopen the school at St. Saviour's.
Opposite-This original stained glass
window from Ravenscroft School at
St Saviour's is being stored until it can
be incorporated into the School's next
phase of expansion.
challenge, and enable eager students with the tools of critical and
imaginative thinking, are the true foundation of a school. Instilled
with an explorer's quest for knowledge, students navigate with their
own compass a personal journey into the world. This is the journey
envisioned by Rev. Mason, leading "the young traveler in the paths
In the same tradition as Mrs. Henry in 1868, a familial
environment becomes the strength of the newly christened Raven -
scroft. The inspiring leadership and care of two brilliant educators,
Miss Nancy Davis Lee and Mrs. Annie Hardy Tongue, become the
mortar holding together this incarnation of the small church school.
Mrs. Tongue is hired as the first teacher and Miss Lee, affectionately
known as "Miss Nannie," as principal and first-grade teacher. With a
nine-month schedule, one month longer than Raleigh public schools,
Ravenscroft opens September 13, 1937, to 135 students at a cost of
$6.50-57.00 monthly per child. Tireless, lifelong learners themselves.
Miss Nannie and Mrs. Tongue lead classrooms filled with energy and
genuine warmth. An immediate success, attendance swells, challeng-
ing the School's physical confines but not sacrificing the quality of
education. Still, strategies are brainstormed for building new space
and expanding the School despite limited financial means.
Above: Miss Nancy Davis Lee
becomes principal at Ravenscroft.
Opposite; The original staff of
Ravenscroft when it opened on Tucker
Street in St. Saviour's. Overleaf. Beloved
teacher. Mrs. Annie Hardy Tongue,
stands with her class in front of
Ravenscroft on Tucker Street.
Principal and First Year
Miss Nancy D. Lee
The Kev. John A. Weight and ^
Mrs. J. G. Vann
'Miss Kathekine Waite
Mrs. Ben T
Mrs. Ben Tongue fry* Mil
Third Year " ¥
If Ethel Squtherland
Mrs. M. Dollar
Miss Patsy McKay
,, Sixth Year *
ss Elizabeth Sorreel
.'vv : ?;.
: £- *' TV
Above: The very first Ravenscroft
annual, The Raven, was created in
I 940. and dedicated to Miss Nancy
Lee. Opposite: Class is held in a Quon-
set hut on church-school grounds due
to student enrollment growing beyond
As World War 1 1 begins, the School's financial challenges
build and, in I944. Rev. Wright resigns his position as rector to
join the armed forces as a Lieutenant Chaplin. School enrollment
continues to grow beyond the School's capacity. School
physician and trustee. Or. Aldert S. Root, manages to
raise $8,037. which is used to install a cozy Quonset hut
(a prefabricated round-roof steel structure), com-
plete with potbellied stove, where classes can be held.
Students continue to flock to Ravenscroft, the war
doing nothing to deter the conviction and passion to
shepherd the School's growth despite its man) budget
and physical constraints. Before resigning in [951,
Dr. Root embarks on another fund-raising campaign
with a vision to build a new, modern school finan-
cially and physically separate from the church. While
his dream is delayed by economic difficulties sur-
rounding the Korean War, it is shared by another
supporter and trustee, Ivlr. L : . F. "lack" Carter, who
continues to raise money and guide Ravenscroft's
direction as the church begins losing interest in
supporting the School.
The day finally arrives on January 17,
1966, when Christ Church votes to terminate
its operation of the School. A committee, the
Friends of Ravenscroft, is quickly formed to
operate the School independently of Christ Church, and, on
February 21, a formal agreement is signed with Mrs. Mary Ann
Broughton as acting chairperson. Thus begins a long and complex
separation from the church that while, both joyous and painful at
times, marks yet another rebirth for Ravenscroft that ensures its
continuing presence and attracts prominent leaders in the Raleigh
community Their insightful vision will fulfill Dr Watson's bequest
in ways he could never have imagined.
A long-held tradition was an elaborate,
full-costumed Christmas Pageant held
every year at Christ Church.
Robert P. Holding Jr., one of the most enlightened visionaries in Ravenscroft's history, is
elected as chair of the board of trustees in September 1967 With his progressive vision as well as
the desire of Headmaster John N. Tuplin, Ravenscroft takes its first steps toward true greatness,
beginning with a donation of $750,000 by Robert and his brother, Lewis R. "Snow" Holding. A
donation to be matched by the board, the Holdings' contribution launches Phases I and 1 1 toward
the goal of reaching S5 million to purchase land and build a school, transforming Ravenscroft into
Raleigh's first college preparatory school for grades pre- Kindergarten through twelve.
Additional support immediately follows the Holdings' lead, beginning with Victor E. Bell
Jr., Mary Ann Broughton, Jack Carter, and parents of Ravenscroft students, Fran and Dr. Watson
Pugh '38, who become invaluable to the future development of the School. In January of 1969, as
grand construction plans are drawn and a vision sharpens, Ravenscroft officially separates from
Christ Church, yet maintains a spiritual foundation in its approach to education.
The vision and finances all seemed to be falling into place, with one question remaining:
where to build the School? The answer soon comes from two of the School's greatest support-
ers, Fran and Dr. Watson Pugh '38. In a meeting with Robert Holding, they alert him to 115 acres
of land available for purchase on Falls of Neuse Road near their horse farm. While this location
is well north of downtown, the Research Triangle Park has become an employment draw and
Raleigh's population nears 122,000 people. This provides even more evidence that an innovative
college preparatory school is needed and building it north of the city will be the perfect location
as more families begin moving near what eventually would become the most prominent high-
tech research and development center in the country. Although
some supporters still disagree with the School's proposed
location, the land is purchased and the School conducts its
final graduation ceremony at the Tucker Street location on
June 4, 1969.
While the Tucker Street days are filled with great
progress and treasured memories, an era must end to
allow a new and exciting one to begin, all while keeping true
to the original vision of the School and its most important
mission— to discover the passions that reside in each indi-
vidual child and guide each along his or her own personal
path to a love of life-long learning.
Opposite: Robert Holding shakes
the hand of A. £ Finley, a prominent
Raleigh businessman and a generous
contributor to Ravenscroft's transfor-
mation into an independent college
preparatory school. Above: Fran Pugh,
along with her husband Watson 38,
identified the available land on Falls
of Neuse Road for building the new
Ravenscroft campus. Fran has served
on the board for over forty consecutive
years and continues to be one of
the most prominent supporters of
Ravenscroft. LeftTeachers at Tucker
Street hanging student art on a
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In 1862, a seed was sown deep into
the Jives of our children and our
community. From that seed has
come great minds, great talent,
and great hope for our future.
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"There's an energy you feel around
the School, it's electric, you feel it in
every grade. "
— Patrick Bailey 'I I and
Zaki Hoidary 'I I
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"Every facility built on this 1 25-acre campus
has been due to the generous support of
families. We all share a vision, and these
impactful gifts change the life of each and
every child at Ravenscroft."
— David bndquist
former Ravenscroft Director of Development,
Parent of Alumnae
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There is only one child
in the world and the
Child's name is All
— Carl Sandburg
was born of a simple dream to start a small parish school in Raleigh's Christ Church. A visionary
bequest became the first cobblestone in a path stretching into a new millennium, worn smooth
by the promises kept to thousands of young learners. The man with the dream. Dr. Josiah Ogden
Watson, would be followed by others shepherding the dream and watching it grow.
Could he have envisioned the lives changed through his singular act of generosity? It is
beyond imagination. One teacher in a small parish school laid a foundation. Thriving into a new
millenium, the humble School has become an internationally-recognized model for the education
and preparation of its most precious resource: children.
As students traversed the years, the School grew, moved, and grew some more. It soon
grew beyond its capacity with teachers and students tucked into bell towers and under stairwells.
With the concerted effort of ardent supporters, Ravenscroft advanced into the modern era to an
expansive new campus on Falls of Neusc Road, where growth was limited only by imagination —
and imagination seemed limitless
We pause in a moment of reflection— arbitrarily, we create touchstones from historical
markers, and 150 years is an appropriate place to honor the past, examine the present, and con-
template the future. The legacy of Dr. Watson's dream is the imagination of a future untethered
by our own bounded knowledge, surely as our present was unimaginable to him. It is a future
grounded in the faith that each successive generation will make use of the most advanced
resources to prepare young minds for a world quite different from ours now, a world that
be passed into their care.
Enveloped by stately oaks and magnolias. Ravenscroft 's stone columns and
iron-picketed gates open graciously to reveal a sprawling campus connected by rolling
hills and meandering walkways, carefully planned with classrooms, laboratories,
theaters, libraries, open spaces, and athletic fields. And while the setting is distinctly
modern, it retains the familial environment for learning and growth that can be
traced back to the first classroom in a small wooden building next to Christ Church.
Generosity, commitment, and a clear vision are threads woven
through the Ravenscroft fabric creating a tapestry of faculty, staff, alumni,
students, and families all intertwined with a passion for lifelong learning.
Pi r, ^
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Before the buildings were raised, before the iconic Murphy Bell Tower first marked the
hour, a master plan was devised with trailers serving as classrooms on the new 1\ purchased acres of
countryside on Falls of Neuse Road "The vision of another dreamer shaped this new incarnation as
Robert Holding forged an idea and lit a fire that consumed incredible obstacles.
Vision, in the metaphorical sense, is the ability to see beyond current trends and convic-
tions to a different reality While the pervading mindset considered balls of Neuse as too tar from
Raleigh's center with few willing to drive the distance, I folding had a bolder and longer view, I lis
faith in that \ ision would become one of the cornerstones ol a growing city, and Ravenscroft now
sits in the geographic center of the city's population.
He was not alone. The story of Ravenscroft in the last hall of the twentieth century was
one of a community putting its faith and financial support into building a school that would never
pause in the pursuit of excellence, but instead, met the challenges of a rapidly changing world Like
a Midwestern barn-raising, Ravenscroft was built by the passion and efforts of many; civic leaders,
families, teachers, administrators, and staff, pitching in building not a barn, but a school
with children entering even' day, endowed with books and dreams
Strolling among the roses and beneath the magnolias, passing through the
arches of the Murphy Bell Tower, and entering one ot fifteen buildings
that dot the rolling 125-acre campus is to travel a
path laid out over ISO years.
Tucker Street created the launching pad
from which the current incarnation sprang,
bestowing the name and encompassing
core values that moved, along with
students, gifted faculty, and staff
to its present expansive location. For more than thirty years, the School nurtured and taught a core
or Raleigh's youth in an atmosphere that is fondly and emotionally invoked as family. For those
alumni, there is a deep connection to the classrooms in St. Saviour's parish house and the army
surplus Quonset hut where they received lessons that would guide them through life.
Herbert L. Gupton Jr., a 1953 graduate, recalls a deep sense of community at the School,
promoting high moral standards and character, which offered him and his classmates the incentive
to learn and prosper both as students and citizens.
Ravenscroft has evolved from the homogeneous student body of Tucker Street to a di-
verse community of students, but, according to Gupton, has maintained its strong sense of com-
munity and its connection with earlier Ravenscroft students.
"It's an excellent part of the educational system and an important part of the community
at large. The Ravenscroft experience then, as now, goes a long way toward accomplishing the goals
of youth to grow, learn, and connect with others and, therefore, prosper in the community,"
Gupton says, crediting his days at the Tucker Street campus with an enduring con-
nection to the School.
The School's path has always contained obstacles to over-
come, and the limited size of the Tucker Street school coupled with
the needs of the city, presenr a decisive moment to step forward
onto the freshly mowed fields of grass and the pine forested land
of a new campus.
An architectural sketch of the Library
& Technology Center which was built
on Ravenscrofi's Falls ofNeuse cam-
pus and opened in 2001.
"When I look around and
see the School, . . . it just
amazes me to think that
it was a bare patch of
land with a lot of trees on
it. That first year, we had
nothing but trailers and
— Margaret Mills 76
Ravenscrofi Associate Director
of Admissions and Marketing,
2012-1 3 Alumni Council President.
Parent of Alumnus
of Neuse campus. A blast of dynamite on March 24, 1970, punctuates the move into the modern
era at Ravenscroft, dramatically marking the groundbreaking for the first permanent building.
The new location provides a treasured commodity unavailable on Tucker Street space.
Room for growth means more students, and the small school begins adding grades, soon to become
a full-fledged college preparatory school with students 111 pre- Kindergarten through twelfth grades.
This grand expansion is accompanied by a fear that the intimate, family environment of
Tucker Street might be lost as an alchemy of another order takes place. The fears prove unfounded
as educators emphasize nurturing the individual student's talent and potential through close rela-
tionships with teachers in a trusting atmosphere with limited regimentation.
This is the true beginning of a new heart and soul for Ravenscroft. Headmaster |ohn
Tuplin, who helped transition the School to its new location, articulated this approach: " I he
student is the most important part of the structure of the School. It is not the purpose ot the
School to set a pattern and then fit every student into it; it is rather the attempt to individualize
each youngster's education as much as possible ."
The excitement of this new period was felt by student Vic Bell 1 1 1 '74. His father. Vic Jr.,
was instrumental in the School's move, and Bell entered as a sophomore in 1969.
I came in the tenth grade, and it was just the beginnings of the School -you
could feel the excitement. You could feel a lot of things to come. Of course, the
rules were being written, and 1 remember the student government was asked to
write the rules for the high school, and that was very exciting You don't get many
chances to write the rules for the school you attend.
Bell III. who has experienced Ravenscroft as a student, parent, and as leader of the board,
is a testament to the power of that innovation, which both embraces the history of the School and
crystallizes the core values that have remained at the center of its educational promise.
An exciting pioneer spirit is shared by the early students and staff on the new campus
as they gather in trailers for class. Margaret Mills '76. remembers the move to the new campus in
1969. She was a student and her entire class fit into one trailer.
They had a big vision. When I look around and see the School and how it has ma
tured. grown and taken shape, it just amazes me to think that it was a bare patch ol
land with a lot of trees on it That first year, we had nothing but trailers and blacktop.
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It is Ravenscroft she credits with setting her sights on goals and accomplishments beyond
her imagination. " 1 always felt cared for. I felt it was a safe environment in which to try some new
things, even if I made mistakes. I always felt as though I was valued for who I was. My teachers
knew my strengths; they knew my weaknesses. They knew when I made mistakes; they knew
when I did something good. But I always felt as though, at the end of the day, I'd be appreciated
for who I was."
Thirty-two members of the first senior class proudly cross an outdoor stage to receive
their diplomas on June 6, 1973. iln d Ravenscroft comes of age as a full-fledged college prepara-
tory, independent school. Holding, who had done so much to make this day possible, speaks to the
graduates, exhorting them to "seek credible and moral approaches and solutions" to the issues they
will face in life. He reminds them that they have received a valuable education and will be held ac-
countable to it.
As the final students descend the stage and move their tassels from right to left,
Ravenscroft reaches the other side of a journey begun long ago. It has fulfilled its promise, and
these new graduates enter the world with both heart and wisdom. This cycle has repeated itself
time and again, and the evidence of its power is in the successful and diverse lives of its many
graduates. Leaders in the arts, business, science, and humanities can all trace their core values
back to the lessons they learned in the trailers, classrooms, theaters, athletic fields, and libraries
The next decades see both growth and setbacks with economic and societal challenges;
yet, the core value at the heart of the School remains, distilled by Bruce Miller, retired assistant
head of school and honored teacher, in one of the early philosophical statements at the new
Inherent in Ravenscroft is an ever-present concern for the higher ideals in life;
among them integrity, self-confidence, intellectual curiosity, creativity, convic-
tion, sportsmanship, and service. It is these qualities, coupled with achievement
in the classroom, in the studio, and on the playing field, which constitute the
spirit of excellence sought by the School for all of its students
These ideals are enhanced over the years, adapted to clearly guide each area of the
School's mission with specific goals. An overall vision, consisting of key elements for academics,
community, the environment, the educational journey, and personal relationships at the School
'The move to Foils of
Neuse was a powerful
vision, and the Holdings
were good at looking ahead
and taking some risk and
bringing other people
— Vic Bell III 74
Ravenscroft Board of Trustees,
Chairman, Board of Trustees,
provide a map to a community grounded in the values
of an engaged mind, an ethical character, an aesthetic
appreciation, a healthy lifestyle, and a spiritual founda-
tion based on courage, respect, responsibility, dedica-
tion, spirit, honor, and compassion.
The academic plans and vision may use
eloquent prose to describe the school mission, but the
words of students themselves are the actual evidence of
the Ravenscroft spirit. Zaki Haidary a 2011 graduate,
entered as a freshman and was amazed at the intimacy
of his class and their willingness to accept a newcomer
into their ranks.
And while social acceptance is important.
Haidary came to the School because he wanted a more
academically demanding setting. "I've been challenged
in evety grade level, and every class gives you the op-
portunity to grow as a person and as a scholar."
But he received something in his education he
Ravenscroft does a great job with the
concrete things — math, science, read-
ing—but, the real lesson from my four
years is the 'softer' skills. It's being able
to stand up in front of a group and
hold your own and speak your mind;
it's being able to manage your time
well; it's being able to attack a group
project and get things done. And with
the rigorous level and course loads, you
learn a lot of things about yourself.
"Each student at
Ravenscroft has at least
one teacher with whom
they strongly identify."
— Patrick Bailey 'I I
former student body president
Patrick Bailey, a 2011 graduate, a "lifer" at Ravenscroft and former student body
president, is best friends with a young man he met on his first day at Kindergarten. "I've been
with the same core people since Kindergarten. I know everybody's brothers and sisters, mothers,
grandparents, where they go to church. Outside of the classroom, everything is as if it's a family"
And that family includes teachers. Each student at Ravenscroft, according to Bailey, has at
least one teacher with whom they strongly identify. In Bailey's case, a math teacher from sixth grade
continues to offer him advice and encouragement, years after having been in his class. "They really
do nurture you here. They're not babying us, but it's something you don't get at a big school."
The nurturing and individualized teaching begins at the earliest levels. Students in the
Lower School read authentic literature, moving away from commercialized text packaged for
entire classes to books chosen for each student's interest. "So a student interested in basketball can
be reading next to another child reading about a princess. We teach skills and strategies that can be
applied to any text, so we can feed off any student and their passions and interests." according to
Head of Lower School Payton Hobbs.
"The students are better able to understand themselves as learners and are more in tune
with themselves. Their engagement increases, and they consume books and more books because
they are able to read things that are interesting to them," Hobbs says.
The roller coaster and adventure that is middle school has its own unique challenges and
rewards, according to Head of Middle School Denise Colpitts.
Our challenge is to grow them and move the students forward on the journey as
far as we can take them, respecting that they are all going to be at different places.
It's an exciting time when you can still make a real impact on lads and help them
as they are challenged to make good decisions and do the right thing.
"Four generations of my
family have walked the
halls of Ravenscroft. My
father sat on the Vestry
of Christ Church when
they made the decision to
reopen the school at St.
Saviour's, which is where I
was a student in the '30s
and '40s. I'm proud to say
that my children went on
to attend Ravenscroft as
do my grandchildren now."
— Alfred L Purrington III '46
Community service at Ravenscroft was born in a Middle School program over thirty years
ago and quickly spread to the rest of the student body. The heart of the program is helping adoles-
cents look beyond themselves to both the larger Ravenscroft community, the needs of their own
communities, and ultimately the world.
"They can be a good, caring person; they can be a contributor to society; they can be an
independent learner that's what we strive for when our children leave us, that they have a little
more confidence, a little more independence, and that they understand what it means to look
outside of themselves," Colpitts says.
' // . "l '
Ravenscroft students face a dizzying array of options, including twenty-seven advanced
placement courses, dozens of special-interest clubs, studio arts, music, drama, study-abroad pro-
grams, and enough team and intramural sports to appeal to students with a broad range of inter-
national backgrounds and interests.
Bill Pruden, head of Upper School, understands the demands on students. "Everybody
wants more; teachers assign more homework, coaches have longer practices, the fine arts has lon-
ger rehearsals than they did a generation ago. but nobody's invented a twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth
hour in the day to do it all in."
A constant balancing act between academics, athletics, and fine arts, both on an insti-
tutional level and an individual student level, creates a lively tension in the development of each
child's growth and fosters time-management skills — preparing students for the challenges they will
face in college and beyond.
The mission for the fine arts program, according to Dr. David McChesney, director of fine
arts, is to give students a combination of competence and confidence in the arts. "Our goal is to
provide an environment in which students with talent, interest, and passion in fine arts have fertile
ground to develop their craft and take it to the next level. They've been given the foundation that
allows them to soar."
Dr. McChesney strives for a robust program, providing opportunities for students to be
involved in something both dynamic and extraordinary.
Ravenscroft knows how important fine arts are to the development of children
and culture and society. It's great that we can expose children to the high level
of opportunities available within the fine arts, the aesthetic value of arts and
their enrichment of life, as well as how necessary it is for society and cities to
be supporters of fine arts— visual, dance, music, drama, and musical theater. At
Ravenscroft, we recognize the value of what's going on in fine arts, acknowledge
its importance, and balance it with academics and athletics.
Maintaining the relevance of fine arts in the classroom is an equal challenge to the efforts
in academics within our modern culture in which technological advancements expand student
experiences. "The goal is to keep moving forward as we craft both a compelling and useful curricu-
lum for students as they advance in this twenty-first century."
". . . we recognize the
value of what's going on
in fine arts, acknowledge
its importance, and bal-
ance it with academics
— Dr. David McChesney
Director of Fine Arts
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The tradition began
with Coach Bill Holleman,
credited with bringing the
sport of soccer to Raleigh,
and earning back-to-back
state championships for
the School in the late 70s.
Before the first grass seeds had fully sprouted.
Ravenscroft athletics had a powerful impact
on life at the School and quickly became
ngrained in the culture, as coaches
in a burgeoning athletics program
pursued excellence on the playing
fields and courts.
Soccer, football, tennis, and
basketball teams all won state
championships, some several
times, before the '70s drew to
a close - truly remarkable for
a school that a decade earlier
only graduated eighth-graders.
Athletics, the third component of an education
alongside academics and fine arts, draws more than 80 percent
of Middle and Upper School students into one of twenty-five
different sports and fifty-three various teams.
"We've been a pioneer in launching sports, such as
boys' lacrosse, girls' field hockey, girls' lacrosse, and girls' golf
We were the journeymen, and people have followed us, and it
has become a very important part of our state fabric," according
to Athletic Director Ned Gonet.
That tradition began with Coach Bill Holleman,
credited with bringing the sport of soccer to Raleigh and
earning back-to-back state championships for the School
in the late '70s.
Athletics at Ravenscroft strives to impart lessons of
leadership, discipline, time management, and cooperation. "I
think all these things capture significantly what a young per-
son needs to move on in life." Gonet says. "As they go beyond
academics, it helps them be successful in their careers and be
good husbands and wives. There are a lot of things we talk about
Athletic Director Ned
Gonet's greatest joy is
when former students
return and he "sees what
they've become . . . goals
they've set and reached,
what families they've
developed, and careers
beyond the wins and losses the invariables it brings to the situation and I think it's huge in a
young person's life. The)' learn to cooperatively succeed and fail, and how to pick up and move
on in lite."
His greatest joy is when former students return and he "sees what they've become, and
what kind of goals the\ Ye set and reached, and what families they've developed, and careers
they've chosen I think they go back and realize that Ravenscroft was critical for setting the foun-
dation for their future."
Because someone at Ravenscroft invested time in them, encouraged them, believed in and
never gave up on them, the students were able to succeed.
"We're not everything to everybody It's not a perfect world, but once somebody goes
through this school, they're prepared: they're prepared academically, they're prepared emotion -
ally, and they're prepared to understand what it takes to succeed at the next level once they leave
home." Gonet says.
. . .
Physical education at Ravenscroft begins in pre-
Kindergarten, giving students the opportunity to get active
and involved, interact with other students, and learn to
work together as a team, while emphasizing individuality;
Many students go on to organized athletics, but ever)' stu-
dent is provided an education that combines lifelong skills
for an active lifestyle, along with rigorous academics and
exposure to a broad range of artistic expression.
Cross-pollination within all of these realms is
encouraged by an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual
respect among teachers. Bell 1 1 1 tells the story of a young
student in dance performing ballet on stage: "Obviously, she
was a very good leaper and jumper. The track coach saw her
and said, 'Why don't you come out and try high jump on
the track team?' And I don't know if that ever would have
crossed her mind. She tried high jump and became state
champion. That happened because a teacher reached out
and said, 'Come try something!' "
Pruden describes another type of education hap-
pening at the School:
I in a great believer that a big part of educa-
tion cannot be measured. You want kids to
learn about everything from dealing with
different types of people to responding to
setbacks. I think those are all things that are
part of the lessons, but there's no way you can
grade somebody, so I often refer to this as the
'ungraded curriculum.' These are the things
we are trying to teach people, the things that
students are learning and taking away from
their Ravenscroft experience, but you would
never see them specifically on a transcript.
Head of School Doreen Kelly views the School through the metaphor of windows and
mirrors " 1 want kids to be at a school where they can find themselves, they can turn a corner and
have that mirror within the curriculum or within a teacher within a program in which the) 1 say,
'I've discovered myself!' And at the same time, the) can turn a different corner and say, 'But I'm
looking beyond myself and can look out the window and know that there's a world ' "
Described as charismatic and warm, and with a laser focus on the School's mission and
future, she says Ravenscroft "is all about the gift of high expectations in a world that overinflatcs
how excellence is defined." The School allows children to experiment m areas in which they may
not feel comfortable and experience "safe failure" to develop resilience
"What I like about Ravenscroft in its entirety if 5011 look at its complete mission, vision,
and values statement is that it makes room for the full interrogation ot lite That's not just the
head, the heart, the athletics, but the spirit as well It's a safe place for big questions to be asked
and explored, and children are encouraged to go on a journey."
Ravenscroft is imbued with values honed sharp through its history, and it is those core
values, consistently articulated, that Kelly says have created the atmosphere attracting generations
of families to the school Parents, she said, want three things for their children: "They want them
to be known; they want them to be cared for; and the; want their children to have learned to have
some control of their environment. Put another way, the; want them to be good; they want them
to be happy; and they w ant their children to be successful."
"What I like about
Ravenscroft in its
entirety — if you look
at its complete mission,
vision, and values state-
ment — is that it makes
room for the full
interrogation of life."
— Doreen Kelly
Head of School
Beginning in Lower School, students participate in
establishing their honor code, empowering them to set the
standards by which they are expected to live and creating a
more thoughtful process. Leadership, part of the "ungraded
curriculum," is promoted from the earliest years as young stu-
dents become line leaders, holding doors for their classmates.
Responsibilities grow throughout the years as students take
greater control of their school environment and become part-
ners with teachers and administrators in the life of the School.
The responsibilities of running a school as diverse,
complex, and ambitious as Ravenscroft are all-consuming,
but simple moments capture the heart and renew the energy
required to lead according to Kelly. "That precious moment
when a child tentatively lets go of a parent's hand and runs into
the arms of their teacher takes my breath away each year!"
The School strives to constantly honor its mission.
Like a glittering thread, first sewn into the School's fabric in
the 1800s, the mission continues to weave into every aspect,
each stitch strengthening the cloth, enhancing its beauty, and
honing its essence.
This golden thread is spun from a faith in the educa-
tional promise of Ravenscroft that stretches through its entire
history back to the original gift. Generation upon generation
have been called on to replenish and add to the legacy of Wat-
Raleigh's growth in the mid-igoos created a need for
more educational options, and the School was reconstituted in
1937 In response to the needs of the community, the people of
Christ Church parish gathered the financial resources together
and built on legacy money from Watson's gift. Without the
original bequest, the)' might not have gone forward with the vi-
sion because, while there's always a connection of great people,
financial resources are required to bring vision to reality
community, guided by
our legacy of excellence,
nurtures individual poten-
tial and prepares students
to thrive in a complex and
"/ love to see that children
have an opportunity to
excel in whatever —
academics, art, theater,
— Fran Pugh
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
The move to Fulls of Ncusc required a new
generation to commit financial resources to a larger
vision emboldened by the development of Research
Triangle Park. This progressive explosion of growth in the re-
gion reflected the need for a bolder approach to the small school
on Tucker Street. A research and development center with global
aspirations was a clarion call for education.
Fran and Dr. Watson Pugh '38 were part of this new genera-
ion, and her leadership over the life of the School comes from a core
desire to create an unparalleled experience.
1 love to see that children have an opportunity to excel
in whatever— academics, art, theater, physical educa-
tion. I've always been very keen on creating something
really spectacular for the students. It's been an amazing
experience to see and reflect on all we've accomplished.
It's here forever.
There are iconic names in the modern history of Ravens-
croft, man)' engraved on the buildings that emerged from the rich
soil of a forested land, touched only by nature. The Holding brothers
spearheaded a movement that would include some of Raleigh's
great benefactors. These names are to be honored along with the fami-
lies, the parents, and grandparents of students who continue to endow
the vast majority of financial support for the School. Steeped in the
knowledge of their own child's growth, the; 1 expand on nn already con-
siderable investment in tuition to become a part of something beyond
themselves and their own children Ravenscrofts future.
The present would be unimaginable without these names.
The future will require new names to be added to the list believers in
both the city and the School who are willing to sacrifice financially to an
ideal that, in the end, is revealed in the face of a child, full of potential,
taking his or her first steps on the path of knowledge.
SurxJoy Mooocy '^esdcy Wednesdoy Thursday Friday Saturday
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"You know, when my dad
went to this school it was
all about Raleigh. When I
went to this school, it was
all about North Carolina.
With my kids here, it's all
about the world."
— Bob Winston III W
in education begins in the footsteps ol others but leads to paths
undiscovered. Prevailing winds help chart the course, while new
ideas and technologies steer in directions unknown to the traveler.
The destination is not the goal; it is the journey that excites us. A
strategic plan acts as compass, and teachers are the navigators as
students step forward into the future.
A history of remarkable achievements — overcoming
tremendous obstacles, both financial and philosophical places
Ravenscroft on the path with the strength and resources of an
institution that has weathered change and risen to challenges. The
ability to adapt and grow, written into the school's DNA, gives
confidence to a sacred promise between teacher and student. Each
child who enters these doors will be given the tools to survive in a
future we can hardly imagine.
This bold act of faith, looking into the future with hope, is
what we call vision. It has been a hallmark of Ravenscroft throughout
its history as leaders, not satisfied with the status quo, have forged
into uncharted realms, becoming better and stronger with each step.
While great vision is rare, great vision with resources is rarer
still. Ravenscroft thrives both from a history ot visionaries and those
who believed in their vision. It is a rare combination to be honored,
cherished, and protected.
The future begins now with each new child walking into
a classroom. Their journey will see teaching methods based on
technologies yet to be invented, but still rooted in a style crafted to
the individual student.
Ravenscroft teachers and administrators are constantly
striving to include the latest discoveries, but as Colleen Ramsden.
assistant head of school for academic affairs, cautions, technological
advancement must be seen in a broader context.
We are going to continue to infuse technology into our schools, our classrooms, and
our teaching, and that's the most important thing. The great benefit of technology
doesn't come from just having the new and cool devices, but it's also how we're
using them to improve learning. Our teachers are very intentional about how
they're infusing technology into their classrooms. We're doing a lot of professional
development to make sure teachers are up with current best practices.
The tools used to teach adolescents are changing as fast as the technologically savvy young
learners can adapt. Research has shown that reading online takes longer, but comprehension is greater.
Teachers are trying to understand how that impacts both learning and their own teaching styles. Head
of Middle School Denise Colpitts says the basics of reading, writing, history, science, and math skills
remain the key ingredients of the curriculum, but the tools used to teach them arc changing.
The future for us is to understand how learning and teaching are changing—
children having technology devices and what that means for the learning process.
Technology is just a tool, so how do we embrace that tool which is captivating
to our students? Research says their brains are changing as they adapt to
new technology, so how do we capitalize on the best way to work with them,
understanding there are still basic skill sets they need.
With any new innovation comes fear of consequences. Two thousand years ago, the written
word began to replace oral traditions, and Socrates warned it would lead to superficial learning and
thinking patterns. So, while these results need to be studied and appropriate solutions developed,
Ravenscroft is utilizing the best technology to find a balance well suited for effective learning and
A new strategic vision for the future, articulated by a planning team that includes board
members, administrators, faculty', and consultants, along with the results of broad-ranging surveys,
refines the ongoing mission of Ravenscroft into three distinct goals that encompass how the school
educates, communicates, and grows.
The first goal is for educational excellence and programmatic distinction, building upon
an "outstanding core curriculum by enhancing teaching and learning, and developing programs of
distinction that prepare students to learn, lead, and serve in a complex and interdependent world."
Focusing on leadership, citizenship, and technology to complement core programs will distinguish
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"... education implies . . .
the foundation of knowl-
edge. It is here that the
impediments are removed,
the bridges erected, the
irregularities leveled, the
directions set up, and the
young traveler in the paths
of knowledge conducted a
short distance on the road
he is afterwards by himself
— Rev. Dr. Richard Mason. 1 836
Recto/; Christ Church, 1840-1874
Ravenscroft programmatically as it seeks to burnish its reputation for educating students in both
practical and moral knowledge. Commitment to professional development in a world where the
tools of teaching and learning are rapidly advancing is an important component of the plan, which
includes an emphasis on both faculty and staff compensation and prioritizing the facility needs of
academics, athletics, and the arts.
The second goal is to effectively tell the Ravenscroft story, clarifying and refining the
message, and communicating through both traditional and innovative mediums to ensure an
accurate and consistent understanding of the School in the broader community. Concurrently, the
School will provide a targeted communication plan focused on attracting the finest students and
families to Ravenscroft.
The third goal is to build upon the legacy of financial stewardship and provide the
appropriate resources to attract and retain talented students, faculty, and staff; maintain, improve,
and expand facilities; and support new strategic initiatives.
Phil 1 [igginson, assistant head of school for institutional advancement, articulates this
goal for the future with its roots in the past: "We need a way to endow this institution to allow us
to open the doors to great youngsters who may not have the ability to pay. How do we establish
an institution that makes certain it honors Snow Holding's vision that 25 percent of this school
would be students who couldn't necessarily afford it? That's vision. That's saying this school needs
to open its doors to great children and great families without burdening them."
A key component of the School's financial stewardship is continuing a culture of
environmental best practices, reducing energy consumption, and maximizing environmental
sustainability both as a means for financial savings and global citizenry
These goals are embedded with a heart and soul that has run throughout Ravenscroft 's
history, and part of that history is that change, when done thoughtfully and with a clear vision, can
build on the past to create a sustainable future.
"No place can stay static and continue to prosper and serve the students the way you
want," according to Bill Pruden, head of Upper School,. "People have been conscious of that
and have tried to work hard to keep the core values front and center as we make needed and
appropriate changes, but again, try to keep it an eminently human place that serves young people."
The challenges are daunting, but facing them is what Ravenscroft has always done.
"People talk about real-world connections, and twenty first-century skills, and making a school
relevant to students' lives," Colpitts relates, "and we've always done that We're just doing it in a
different way now."
The future is as unknown to us as our present would have been to Dr. Josiah Ogdcn
Watson. But it is our dreams that will make it possible as surely as that first seed, delivered in the
form of an idea and bequest, blossomed into the School we know today.
It is a future guided by a philosophy of humble stewardship, summed up by Head of
School Doreen Kelly, who knows that you can "never rest on the moment you say you're the best.
You are always reaching for the next generation, how to excel, and how to be the best for the
students who are coming through the pre-Kindergarten doors right now."
Where will that future take us? If the past is any guide, it is a journey limited only by our
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'There is not one specific memory that
sums up my high school experience, but
rather many instances that show the
Class of 201 I 's camaraderie and unity.
Because of the increase in unity in our
class, new friends were made and new
bonds were formed. It is my hope that
these new friendships last through college
and stick with us for the rest of our lives."
— Sofia Armstrong ' I I
"In seventh grade, I found my niche . . .in the Fine Arts
Center. One special teacher helped guide me and
nurtured me in acting and fitting in with the Ravens
around me; thanks to Angela Santuco, I went from
'the new guy whose glasses make him look like Harry
Potter mixed with John Lennon' . . . to becoming
comfortably acclimated and one of the class."
— Michael Santos 7 /
"This will be the pinnacle of our lives here
at Ravenscroft, our gate to the future,
and our canonization as the latest
veneration of the Ravenscroft family."